Meet our newest Board member:
Vice President, specialized banking relationship manager – Mid-Atlantic/Metro New York Regions at Santander Bank.
Natalia Dominguez Buckley
From being a parishioner in a small church in Argentina where Father Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) said Mass, to earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, to serving on the World Meeting of Families’ Welcoming Committee for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia in 2015, Natalia Dominguez Buckley has quite the story to tell.
In 2020 alone, Dominguez Buckley has been recognized for her efforts both personally and professionally, having been awarded one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s Minority Business Leaders as well as being named to the Mayor’s “short list” for Philly school board candidates. In 2018, Natalia was named by the office of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Latinos in Pennsylvania.”
We caught up with our newest Board Member in this inaugural edition of Board Spotlight.
Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Argentina, a daughter of parents who emigrated from Paraguay. (I am tri-lingual, speaking English, Spanish and Guaraní, the indigenous language of Paraguay). I attended a Catholic school in Buenos Aires, until the economy crashed in the 1980’s and my family sent me to public school. It was early on that I experienced first-hand the major differences between a public and parochial school education.
What brought you to the United States?
I have been here since ’99 when I attended University of Pennsylvania as both an undergrad and graduate student. I earned my BA in International Relations and an MGA in Public Finance from the Fels Institute of Government at Penn.
My husband also received a Catholic education as an alumnus of the [St. Joseph’s] Prep. We were married in 2012, and now have a six-year-old daughter who attends Norwood-Fontbonne Academy.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I know Pope Francis from when he was a pastor at my church in Buenos Aires. Back then, he was Father Bergoglio. He used to offer a special Mass every year on August 7 to celebrate the feast day of St. Cajetan, patron of jobseekers and bread for the Argentine people. He continued to offer the mass even after he became Archbishop in 1998.
As a former staff member of the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), I was fortunate enough to serve on the World Meeting of Families’ Welcoming Committee helping to arrange security and logistics for the Pope’s 2015 visit to Philadelphia.
How did you discover BLOCS?
I first discovered BLOCS through the staff at Norwood-Fontbonne. Then, a close friend of ours, who also serves as BLOCS’ legal counsel, recommended the organization to me and I was really interested to learn more about the work they do in the community especially supporting those in need through education opportunity. I currently sit on two other boards who are focused on community development & finance for small business owners and entrepreneurs, so I particularly liked the opportunity to serve in the education space because it’s so important to me.
How do you see yourself making an impact as a member of BLOCS’ Board?
I am excited to help bring this organization to the next level and believe in our mission. I feel I can really help in connecting donors who are passionate about supporting education with the students & families who so desperately need them.